In time for the holidays: Wes Montgomery''s "Snowfall" solo

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Happy Holidays from Jazz Guitar Hardball! And what better way to celebrate the holidays than with Wes Montgomery’s solo on “Snowfall”? Wes shows us how to capture an elegant and ethereal waltz-like feel on this A-A-B-A holiday classic, written by Claude Thornhill.

The strength of this solo lies in its ability to transform standard harmonies and arpeggios into warm and intuitive melodies and themes. The improvisation takes great care to outline the harmony of each chord change, but simultaneously does so in a very melodic manner with careful phrasing and use of rest space. Classic single-note Wes makes the holidays complete!

You can listen to Wes’ solo at:

For an original performance by Claude Thornhill and his Orchestra, see the video on YouTube.

Jim Bastian
A clinician and jazz educator, Jim Bastian is a 10 year veteran of teaching guitar in higher education. Jim holds two masters degrees and has published 6 jazz studies texts, including the best-selling How to Play Chordal Bebop Lines, for Guitar (available from Jamey Aebersold). He actively performs on both guitar and bass on the East Coast.

An avid collector and trader in the vintage market, you can visit Jim’s store at (dealer: IslandFunhouse).

Magnatone unveils the Starlite, its new 5-watt amplifier with a vintage look designed for the office, backstage, or the studio.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.



• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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